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Death and destruction of the body in war

This chapter examines how neoliberalism engineers its own unique rendition of the nationalist crisis through recourse to discourses of meritocratic competition, the entrepreneurial self and individual will, alongside its exaltation of a ‘points-system’ approach to the ills of immigration. A traditional concern of the neoliberal right posits that a market-society ideal is hampered by cultures of welfare dependency and the absence of individual responsibility. This neoliberal position individualises outcomes of success and failure, muting in turn issues of structure and access. But, again, important questions arise regarding the imperative of this neoliberal frame to also racialise conceptions of failure, dependency and national crisis. This is a neoliberal denigration of the racialised outsider that operates through the categories of blackness, the Muslim and the pervasive notion of the inadequate and undesirable migrant. As regards the pathologisation of immigration, particular emphasis will be placed on the unique shaming of the Roma that has recently found a place in British commentary and visual culture.

in Dying for the nation
Death, grief and bereavement in Second World War Britain

This book places death squarely at the centre of war. Focused on Second World War Britain, it draws on a range of public and private sources to explore the ways that British people experienced death, grief and bereavement in wartime. It examines the development of the emotional economy within which these experiences took place; the role of the British state in planning for wartime death and managing and memorialising those who died, and the role of the dead in the postwar world. Arguing that cultures of bereavement and the visibility of grief in wartime were shaped by the Great War, the book traces the development of cultures of death grief and bereavement through the first half of the 20th century. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including diaries, letters, memoirs, newspapers, magazines and government papers, it considers civilian death in war alongside military death, and examines the ways that gender, class and region shaped death, grief and bereavement for the British in war.

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The emotional economy of interwar Britain

Chapter Two discusses the emotional economy of interwar Britain, Examining the range of different cultural texts that advised people on the management of emotions, and the desirability of restraint and stoicism, it shows how the British people were encouraged to be self-reflective and to work to understand, and thus manage, their emotions. Self-restraint, it argues, became seen as a key and desirable aspect of modernity. The chapter begins by examining the impact of the Great War on grief and religious practice in the interwar period before examining the development of a historically specific emotional economy that valued self-reflection and restraint. It concludes by discussing the growth of a popular psychology in the 1930s, and the impact of this focus on emotional self-management on British people as they prepared for a second, devastating, war.

in Dying for the nation
Transforming gender and magic on stage and screen

This chapter explores our current moment in the history of The Tempest in performance, in which female actors have increasingly taken on the role of Prospero, transforming him into Prospera. Goodland challenges the prevailing view that this change is seamless, arguing that it reveals implicit bias against women in that they are largely viewed as mothers rather than as magi. She shows this by examining the tension between feminist scholarship and play reviews in three high-profile productions: Blair Brown’s 2003 stage portrayal at McCarter Theatre, Olympia Dukakis’s 2012 performance at Shakespeare & Company and Helen Mirren’s 2010 Prospera in the film by Julie Taymor. While Shakespeare’s play ultimately suggests that the difference between Prospero and Sycorax, between male and female forms of magic, is illusory, Goodland’s analysis shows that the replacement of a male body with a female body is not so seamless. Bodies matter. The biases of our twenty-first century culture are written in the laws that endeavour to control women’s bodies and in the reviews that construe their value to society under the category of a domesticated motherhood rather than as individuals who are leaders and scientists.

in Shakespeare and the supernatural
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Bereavement, grief and the emotional labour of wartime

Like the dead, the grief of the bereaved could be put to work for the nation, or it could disrupt morale and collectivity. It thus had to be carefully managed. This chapter considers the ways that the British people were expected and encouraged to undertake the ‘labour of loss’ in ways that could be mobilised for the war effort. Beginning with a discussion of the multiple ways that grief was represented in cultural texts, it goes on to explore some of the texts that record individual’s own attempts to understand, and manage, their emotional response to wartime loss. Grief, it argues, could threaten both self composure, and the composure of the national wartime body.

in Dying for the nation
Young Adult literature and the metaphorical wolf

Twentieth-century werewolves, with their monthly transformations, violent outbursts and sudden sprouting of hair, have become a ready metaphor for adolescence in popular culture. Teen Wolf (Rod Daniel, 1985) encapsulates the connection between teenager and lycanthrope. Concentrating on Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (2009–2011) and Annette Curtis Klaus’s Blood and Chocolate (1997), this chapter uncovers the assumption at the core of this metaphor: that teenagers, like werewolves, are animalistic and, moreover, that the wolf is lesser to the ‘were’. Thus, to use the language of the Gothic, both werewolves and adolescents are made liminal in this structure. By looking at the teenage werewolf from the point of view of the wolf, the author looks to address the lower status of the animal and return the wolf’s voice.

in In the company of wolves
The metafictional meanings of lycanthropic transformations in Doctor Who

Given the intertextual tendencies of the franchise, it is perhaps surprising to find that, applying a narrow definition, the werewolf has featured only twice in the BBC television series Doctor Who: once in the form of the punk shapeshifter Mags in ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’ (1988–9), then again in that of the foundling host of ‘Tooth and Claw’ (2006). If, however, the genus is approached in a more inclusive spirit, these examples are soon joined by other contenders: the Primords of ‘Inferno’ (1970), for instance, and the Lukoser from the ‘Mindwarp’ episodes of The Trial of a Time Lord (1986). Looking beyond televised stories to the novels published by Virgin and the BBC, the audio dramas produced by Big Finish and comic strips featured in the Doctor Who magazines, it becomes clear that the Whovian werewolf pack is much bigger than it first appears. In exploring some of the ways in which the folkloric hybrid has been adapted to the mythos of Doctor Who at various times and in multiple formats through a period of more than half a century, this chapter is able to comment on the wider cultural adaptability and significance of the werewolf and its primal cousins.

in In the company of wolves
Representing the supernatural in film adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

While stage adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream have grappled with representing fairies and fairy flight since the play’s early performances at the original Globe, the ‘magic’ of film offered possibilities of supernature not previously available to stage productions. Initially this capability was fully exploited in early adaptations of the Dream such as Vitagraph’s 1909 silent adaptation, and Max Reinhardt’s spectacular 1935 film for Warner Brothers. As cinema matured, and our reading of the play changed, the heavy reliance on special effects made way for other, more subtle techniques. Film directors took differing approaches in representing the fairies’ supernatural powers and their materiality, offering new and exciting ways to ‘read’ the fairies. This chapter explores how the fairies are represented in a number of film adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from 1909 through to 2016, and considers the effect that film ‘magic’ has on realising the supernatural in the play.

in Shakespeare and the supernatural
Werewolves, wolves and wild children
Editors: Sam George and Bill Hughes

The book explores crucial questions concerning human social existence and its animal substrate, and the intersection between the human and the wolfishly bestial. The collection connects together innovative research on the cultural significance of wolves, wild children and werewolves from a variety of perspectives. We begin with the wolf itself as it has been interpreted as a cultural symbol and how it figures in contemporary debates about human existence, wilderness and nature. Alongside this, we consider eighteenth-century debates about wild children – often thought to have been raised by wolves and other animals – and their role in key questions about the origins of language and society. The collection continues with analyses of the modern werewolf and its cultural connotations in texts from nineteenth-century Gothic through early cinema to present-day television and Young Adult fiction, concluding with the transitions between animal and human in contemporary art, poetry and fashion.

Nordic Gothic and colonialism

This chapter observes that while several studies of Anglophone Gothic have noted the close connection between Gothic and imperialism, very little of the scholarship that exists on Nordic Gothic has considered this dimension. This should be attributed not only to the general reluctance by scholarship to look beyond Anglophone Gothic, but also to the widespread belief that the Nordic countries remained outside the nineteenth-century colonial project. Referring to several studies that show that the Nordic nations were, in fact, eager participants in the colonial project, the chapter then discusses a number of late twentieth and early twenty-first century Nordic Gothic texts, with a focus on the fiction of Peter Høeg, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Anders Fager, and on the Swedish-French television series Idjabeaivváš (Jour Polaire/Midnight Sun/Midnattssol 2016). These texts are used to argue that Nordic Gothic, sometimes directly and sometimes furtively, addresses colonial concerns and that this tradition shows the same ambivalence towards this colonial past and present as does international Gothic.

in Nordic Gothic